The Central Information Commission today directed the Delhi University and the Gujarat University to search and provide information on degrees earned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who had criticised the functioning of transparency panel yesterday.
Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu also directed the Prime Minister’s Office to provide “specific number and year” of the degrees earned by the Prime Minister to his alma mater–Delhi University and Gujarat University to make it easy for them to locate these records.
“Not prescribing the education (degree based) qualification for contesting electoral offices is one of the great features of Indian democracy. What needed is education and not degrees. However, when a citizen holding the position of Chief Ministership wants to know the degree related information of the Prime Minister, it will be proper to disclose,” Acharyulu said in the order.
It was an unusual step of the Information Commissioner to treat Kejriwal’s letter as an RTI application.
“The Commission directs the CPIOs of Delhi University and Gujarat University to make best possible search for the information regarding degrees in the name of “Mr Narendra Damodar Modi” in the year 1978 (Graduation in DU) and 1983 (Post Graduation in GU) and provide it to the appellant Mr Kejriwal as soon as possible,” he said.
The genesis of the case is in two previous CIC orders and a scathing letter from Kejriwal to Acharyulu where he demanded that while he was ready to share information sought by RTI applicants, the CIC must also order disclosure of educational qualifications of the Prime Minister.
In the case of Hans Raj Jain, who sought the details of the students who passed in 1978 with names starting from N (Narendra) and M (Modi), the Delhi University had claimed that it will not be possible to search from lakhs of external students unless roll number was provided.